Matthew Lickona 8:30 a.m., Oct. 20
Fusion: Vinny Golia Style
LA multi-wind master Vinny Golia is on a roll lately, recording excellent compositions with a wide variety of musicians, and knocking them out of the park, like Barry Bonds after a trip to the restroom.
Here, on his own label, Nine Winds he's doing it, sextet style, on a brand new disc called Abstractions And Retrocausalities.
The sextet is loaded with hot young virtuosi Golia met while they were attending Cal Arts in Valencia. Gavin Templeton is an alto saxophonist full of fiery ideas and tricky techniques; Daniel Rosenboom, on trumpet, is really starting to come into his own, and the electric guitar of Alex Noyce is kind of a wild-card, albeit a welcome one.
The music on this disc represents, perhaps, Golia's own personal distillation on the notion of jazz-rock fusion, usually a pretty tired concept, but in his practice, a fresh and riveting exploration. To drive the sextet, Golia has chosen Jon Armstrong to play electric bass, and Andrew Lessman for the drum chair. Leading the way is Golia himself, on sopranino, baritone and contrabass saxophones, as well as a few "ethnic" reeds and flutes.
On "Photoshoot one, two," Golia's foghorn like contrabass sax anchors the furious start and stop melodic outbursts of Templeton, Rosenboom and Noyce. The trumpeter sneaks in a dynamic solo that alternates between pinpoint articulation and occasional dirty smears.
"BTSO," begins with a bamboo flute, a cappella, leading into a smart ensemble groove fueled by walking electric bass and long, intricate motifs over the push-and-pull rhythms of the sextet--which actually sounds more like a big band, thanks to Golia's inventive arrangement.
"Spare The Rod, and Spoil The Series," combines a cartoonish ensemble playing with stark, solo baritone saxophone. Gradually, the band settles into a kind of rock-groove, ( snare drum on "2" and "4"), with spiky guitar chords by Noyce over the mocking commentary of the trumpet and alto sax. Rosenboom's muted trumpet solo is the highlight here, this guy is developing into a major voice on the instrument.
On "Maboos Justice (are you mocking me now?)," Templeton opens things up with a tone as tart as a mouthful of lemons and lines that strike like a rattlesnake on a hot-grill. Noyce follows with a decidedly dirty, overdriven spot-- nimble and foreboding-- before slipping into a total squall of epic proportions.
Throughout it all, the grooves are well stoked by the limber, dexterous bass of Armstrong and the lock-tight drums of Lessman.
I was thinking this disc reminds me of Ornette Coleman's Prime Time meeting Chick Corea's Return To Forever, with a dose of Don Ellis Orchestra thrown in... but it's really just another side of the wildly creative mind of Golia.